Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Is the Effectiveness of SEO a Mere Belief? (Hint: No)

Organic SEO can be one of the most effective marketing tools available to the modern business. This is not merely a "belief." It is a fact backed by evidence easily available to any person with an Internet connection. If you're looking for a few examples, read SwellPath's SEO case study for Nike Golf.  Or: Wpromote's Case Study For TOMS (the shoe company).

Now, you might notice that we use equivocal language to state our case: "Organic SEO can be one of the most effective marketing tools" and "the potential effectiveness of organic SEO is a fact." The reason is simple: to be effective, organic SEO must be applicable to a site's needs; also, of course, organic SEO must be performed correctly. 

This should be obvious to any website owner--or, really, anyone.

SEO is not a magical solution--as some might have it. Organic SEO requires time and effort--and, often, money. 

There is no way around this last point. To build an effective organic SEO marketing campaign, you need to spend money. This expense might be for an SEO specialist, or content writers, or an SEO-savvy web designer. Or perhaps the expense might be simply your own time. As any website owner knows, time is money.

Incidentally, this is why we so often suggest the help of a good SEO specialist. The work of an SEO specialist can be a full-time occupation. A great deal of this work is about keeping up-to-date with the changes in search engine algorithms--especially Google's algorithm.

For some reason, many people continue to believe that search engine rankings just happen. So why pay for SEO?

Perhaps this is why the practice of SEO is resisted by so many people--even now, when the potential value of SEO is nearly universally accepted, even by the likes of Google.

Yes, Google. Cyrus Shepard recently tackled the myth that "Google Hates SEO" on the Moz blog. "Some days it feels this way," Shepard jokes. But, he adds, "In truth, Google's relationship with SEO is much more nuanced:

1. Google readily states that SEO can "potentially improve your site and save time" and that many SEO agencies "provide useful services." Google even advises "If you're thinking about hiring an SEO, the earlier the better."

2. Google published their own SEO Starter Guide. While a bit out of date, it certainly encourages people to take advantage of SEO techniques to improve search visibility.

3. Google Analytics offers a series of SEO Reports."

SEO is not magic. It's hard work. Unfortunately, we continue to see resistance to what is, in reality, a benign practice. Beyond the expense, this resistance is likely due to a bad reputation. The manipulative practices of Black Hat SEO have plagued the good name of SEO specialists for years.

When we talk about SEO, we are not talking about Black Hat SEO.

We are talking abut organic SEO.

If you're a website owner, we suggest learning about the difference between Black Hat SEO and organic SEO. Only then can you begin to answer the question: Is SEO worth the money? The answer is likely "yes," especially if you own a small business. But the answer is not always "yes."

Please read: "The Death of SEO?" 

Or: "Quality vs. Quantity: A Different View of SEO Marketing."


We felt obliged to write this "defense" of organic SEO after reading a recent article by the "Internet Psychologist," Graham Jones. In "Is SEO a Myth?" Graham argues:

"Like it or not, SEO is a belief system. There are many people convinced by its power, whereas other people manage to thrive online without giving it a second thought."

Nonsense. This is so clearly an example of a logical fallacy that it is hardly worth entertaining.
Just because "some people manage to thrive online without" SEO does not mean that the practice itself is merely belief.

The effectiveness of SEO--if used correctly for the right website--is indisputable. Not all websites need SEO--but most do.

Weirdly, Jones uses the example of Google itself to "prove" that some websites perform well without SEO:

"Google itself produced its own “report card” showing that its own SEO was, frankly, poor. They are not doing too badly in spite of some pretty shabby search engine optimization of their own."

This report card actually refers to Google's products pages--and not Google itself, which Graham infers--which clearly could benefit from SEO. Google admits as much. Even then, this example is yet another logical fallacy. How does it follow that SEO is merely "belief" simply because Google does not need SEO?

Graham writes: "Perhaps what the Google report card demonstrates is that branding is more important than SEO."

We couldn't agree more. (Branding can be a part of a good SEO campaign). For websites without any "branding" to stand on, however, SEO can be the quickest route to success.

What do you think? Is the effectiveness of SEO a mere belief? Or can we prove categorically that SEO is an effective marketing tool--for many (if not all) websites?

Is SEO Worth Your Money?

To navigate the complicated challenge of SEO, you might need to hire an SEO specialist like Stepman's PC. Do not let the changing algorithms compromise your sales. You need the astute wisdom of a professional search engine optimization professional who can help you answer the question honestly: Is SEO worth your money? Contact Stepman's PC today to learn how you can improve your website's performance: 215-900-9398.